Admiral William H. McRaven, Commander U. S. Special Operations Command and Navy Seal spoke last week at the U of Texas Commencement Address. The motto of the Austin campus is, “What starts here changes the world”, and Admiral McRaven used this motto as the theme of his speech.

In Seal training, one of the things recruits have to endure is uniform inspection, and it is designed so that they will fail. No matter how hard they prepare to have every aspect of their uniform in perfect condition, the instructors will find some aspect that does not measure up. When that happens, the recruit has to run, fully clothed, down into the ocean surf, then roll around in the sand until they are completely covered. They have to wear that uniform for the rest of the day.  It is called, getting ‘sugar cookied’.

Some recruits can’t get over this humiliation and the fact that they have failed when they thought they did everything right, and they drop out of the program. In short, they don’t learn to handle failure.

In school, in our career, and in life we will all likely fail many times. But it is how we handle the failure that separates the top performers from the rest.

If you are going to change the world…Get over being a sugar cookie!